Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Tasting a Wine With Howard Friedman of South River Imports

Tasting a Wine With Howard Friedman of South River Imports


Through happenstance I recently met Howard Friedman of South River Imports.  He was at MacArthur Beverages with a sample of wine from Cellers Costers del Ros.  The lands of Cellers Costers del Ros have been owned by the Ros and Juanpere family since the 18th century.  Even the original wine cellar from this period still exists in the Casa Pairal of Cal Ros in Gratallops.  The wines were previously bottled but were not sold in the United States.  Just over one decade ago Antoni Gracia and his brother took over the winery from their father.  In 2002 the brothers rebuilt the winery to have a fermentation room, aging hall, bottling area, laboratory, and tasting room all of which feature up to date technology.  They started commercially producing wine in 2004.  Today there are 30 hectares of vines located across three different estates.  The fruit from these estates are used to produced three wines: L’Aubagues, L’Albada, and L’Obila.

Howard Friedman with brothers at Cellers Costers del Ros, Image from Howard Friedman (flickr).

Howard Friedman with brothers at Cellers Costers del Ros, Image from Howard Friedman (flickr).

A few years ago Howard was contacted by Antoni Gracia then subsequently visited the winery in 2011.  Last week Howard brought a bottle of the 2009 L’Aubagues to MacArthur Beverages to taste.  This wine is produced using fruit sourced from the youngest estate.  This vineyard is 35-50 years old and located at 900 feet.  The vineyards are quite steep so the slate soils are tilled by mule.  The Grenache and Carignan vines are trained en vaso and the Cabernet Sauvignon vines are trained espaldera.  The fruit goes through two stages of selection before destemming.  It is then fermented using indigenous yeasts in 3,000 liter stainless steel tanks followed by aging in small oak barrels.  Priorat can produce a big wine but the 2009 L’Aubagues is certainly not.  There was a ripeness to the nose but the mouth was gentle with pleasing expansion and youthful structure.  Please find my brief impression of what I tasted from a tiny wine glass below.  I will certainly purchase a bottle so I can find out what exactly is in the bottle.

2009Aubagues

2009 Cellers Costers del Ros, L’Aubagues, Priorat –
Imported by South River Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 40% Grenache, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon which was destemmed then fermented in stainless steel tanks.  It was then aged in used oak barrels which were 70% French, 20% American, and 10% Yugoslav.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed interesting aromas of focused, ripe fruit.  The wine was lighter in the mouth with the interesting flavors following the nose.  The flavors were expansive with a drying structure that slowly build in the mouth.  With a brief bit of air it took on a gentle concentration.  Young, but will surely develop over the next several years.

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